Rated: Spurs (2) v (0) Villa – The FA Cup dream is over for another year.

In the pre-match piece there was a mixture of irrefutable facts (Spurs are good, Villa are…) and optimism (their rotation).

Over 70 minutes at White Hart Lane we saw that Bruce has made us somewhat harder to beat.

However, the the truth is that when Tottenham decided to step it up a gear, they comfortably came out 2-0 winners.

Overall though, despite the disappointment of an early cup exit, there were some decent performances.

New signing Johnstone made a good first impression between the sticks, pulling of a number of smart saves.  James Chester also looked composed at the centre of defence, particularly in the first half.

However, despite our restraint given the opposition, Villa lacked a cutting edge.

This could make January a very long month indeed.

VILLA RATINGS

Johnstone (7.5)

A decent opening performance from the newly joined loanee from Manchester United.  Cut a commanding figure in a goalmouth often occupied by the diminutive Gollini or Bunn.  Made a number of saves which inspired confidence for the month ahead.

Hutton (6)

Had been enjoying a fairly solid game along with defensive counterparts until the Spurs opener.  Offered little going forward & all at sea during build up to cross that lead to Spurs’ first goal.  Limited in what he brings to the party and a weak-link.

Chester (6.5)

Started well and had shown a number of smart pieces of defending throughout the afternoon.  Composed and assured at the heart of the defence and our stand-out performer in the first half. Second half; Lost Davies for the opening goal, allowing unchallenged header beyond Johnstone.  Also lost Son for second goal, when anticipating the cross from the right incorrectly.  Leads well, impresses greatly but sometimes its not your day.

Baker (6)

Managed the physical battle with the disappointing Jannson comfortably.  Fortunate in the second half for committing too soon, allowing Sissoko a run and shot on goal.  Struggled, perhaps with injury, as opposition repeatedly got away from him.  Like others around him, did well until 70 minutes, when the wheels fell off.

Amavi (6)

Struggled with Spurs’ movement and offered very little going forward.  Struggled with the pace, raising questions around fatigue or whether he has fully recovered from injury.  Either way, certainly not a stand-out performance for a player harbouring full international ambitions.

Adomah (7)

Tried hard, but it was very apparent as our only out ball or creative spark.  Whilst often finding himself overwhelmed, always showed for the ball and tried to make something happen.  Was frequently the player making the forward movements or trying to interlink the play into something meaningful.  A positive if fruitless performance.

 

Tshibola (6.5)

A good performance today from a player who has struggled for fitness, confidence and consistency.  Demonstrated enough to suggest he should get the nod over Westwood and Gardner, with ample determination and strength.  Needs a run of games in order to develop and grow his game.  Easy to forget he’s just 22 years old.

Jedinak (6)

Another hard working performance of disruption, tackles and all round nuisance to the opposition.  Brings great physicality to the team & looks much more balanced alongside Tshibola.  Struggled, as per usual, with distribution.  If he could improve this it would really help the team.  As game progressed was visibly fatigued and there were many moments across his 70+ minutes where younger legs would have been preferred.  You can’t have it all..

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Bacuna (5)

A disappointing performance.  Ineffective in most of what he tried to do and anonymous in the remainder.  Ran around a great deal, but to little effect and offered nothing creative to provide Villa with a means to take the game to Tottenham.  Underlines the limitations in the current squad.

Grealish (6)

Another who struggled to contribute anything of note.  Has all of the tricks and skill, as we know, but can be guilty of slowing the play needlessly.  Whilst our game plan was one of suppression, Jack was unable to impose himself or find the space to give Spurs’ midfield something to think about.  Overshadowed by the impressive performance of Harry Winks.  Grealish continues to frustrate.

Agbonlahor (5)

Worked hard and arguably in the thankless role of lone striker for long periods.  No longer has the terrifying pace to alarm opposition defences and appears woefully short in other areas to substitute this loss.  Whilst his improved weight and apparent desire to work are good to hear, the ship has sailed.  Had one snap shot saved, which wasn’t straightforward, but we simply need more quality up front.  His selection continues to puzzle.

What are your thoughts?

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